First post in the series: The Euro Chronicles, 1997 SECOND TRIP I love that color. Kind of a murky aqua, like the bottom of an old Coke bottle that has been in some one's basement or shed and has become a murky shadow of the cheerful color it once was. Yes, I thought to myself, I love that color. When I get home I'll buy some upholstered chairs in that hue and make matching curtains and throw pillows filled with goose down so they'll plump up and fit just right when someone leans onto it.
The water is this color. The Grand Canal all around Venice and its surrounding waters. It’s our tenth anniversary and my husband Tim and I are in a water taxi going from the Lido to dinner on the main Island. I’m looking over the side of the boat just enjoying the color and day dreaming. “Excuse me”. Tim talks to everybody, that’s just the way he is. One of the hundred reasons I fell in love with him. “Excuse me”, Tim said to a girl in the seat right in front of us. (Scuse’ Signora, I silently corrected him.) “Excuse me but me and my wife would like to try a restaurant which is off the beaten path, something that you and your friends may enjoy when you’re out for dinner and not one of the ones on the main drag which collect and attract too many tourists”.
In about a huff and a puff (of mine) later we found the restaurant. It’s one of those restaurants most tourists wouldn’t usually run into (thank God). Otherwise where would the Italians eat? We walk in and ask for a table. “No table” the waiter said in Italian. “Okay”, I said and turned on my heel to leave. (I’m usually embarrassed by such things and I turn to go quietly. “Just a minute”, Tim said. “There are many tables open and you say”?…. “Yes but they are all reserved”. “What about this one”? Tim says gesturing to the four-top closest to us. “Oh that one is reserved for an 8 o’clock”. Tim points to his watch and says “It’s 8:15 now, they’re already late then aren’t they? How many of them are there in their party? “(due’)”. “Two? Well then there’s room for us isn’t there? We’ll take that table”.
You’ve got to know Tim. No one says no to Tim, and if they do they don’t insist for long. He can change a person’s mind so nicely, so subtly they actually thank him for it. It’s a gift, like “the force” for Jedi executives.
We sit down as the waiter hands us the menu and goes about waiting on the locals who frequent.
We’re looking over the menu, my Italian being very light and Tim’s Italian, nill. We’re laughing trying to figure out what we’ll have.
The other couple walks in. Let me set this up for you. This will tell you why I’ve picked this story as my first in my series:
Tall blonde very attractive woman with a great smile and a very approachable vibe. With her is her husband, Joseph (pronounced Yo-seff) a short pleasant-looking man with an olive complexion, black hair and wearing a black leather jacket and jeans. They look like they wouldn’t be together at all but they seem at second glance and in talking with them for a period of time, like salt and pepper. They sat down and we began talking to them and asking them what we should order. The lady, Verena who just happened to be fluent in 5 languages is friendly and eager to help. Within minutes we have all ordered and we four are sitting there at the four-top just as if we had known each other for a great deal of time.
“Oh you have to try the Grappa!” Verena and Joseph said, “It’s bad luck if you don’t. You have to take it all in one shot and suck down the raisins at the bottom of the glass!” “Nope” I said. I had already taken a taste and it tasted like Satan’s cough medicine. “You must!” “Nope. Rather have bad luck”. You drink it.”
Then: “You must come with us to Harry’s Bar on the Square! Harry’s Bar was made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s hanging out there so often. (and drinking, of course). They have the most delicious after-dinner Sambuca shot with coffee beans on the bottom of the glass!” The next thing I know we’re smack dab in the middle of Saint Marco’s square doing the can-can.
Must. What’s with all the must? I started to get it…..this would be the start of a long line of “musts” with them. We said our good -nights and Tim and I got into our water taxi back to the Lido and Villa Mabappa.
You won’t believe what happens in the next week or so, but you have to, I have more pictures.
~~Lovingly tendered ~~ D